Team Bonitas returned to the podium today thanks to the spectacular performances from Herman Fouche and Christoff van Heerden who took the first and the third places at the Pick N Pay Cape Argus Challenge 2013.
In weather conditions that held perfectly well through the race, Herman Fouche made the last dash a second earlier to Tyler Day of BMC Westvaal followed closely by team mate Christoff van Heerden for victory in 2:39:55. Van Heerden came in third with 2:39:56, tenth of a second slower than second placed Tyler Day. For 25 year old Fouche this was the second podium finish in as many years at the Argus, he was the runners up in 2012.
On his win Fouche said, “It is a big win for Team Bonitas. It’s a great feeling to reach the podium especially at the Argus which sees some of the best domestic and international riders competing. The pressure comes standard but I enjoyed it immensely.”
Willie Smit of Team Bonitas set up the race early on as the leader of the pack so the team could run a more controlled race. The 109 km race saw some daring breakaways and tough showdowns with all coming down to a sprint in the final stretches of the race. An experienced sprinter Fouche displayed his mettle on the pedal when he made incredible ground overtaking Day in a photo finish. The win was too close to call as the winner had a tense 15 minutes before the results were finally announced, handling Team Bonitas the race win.
Malcolm Lange himself a cycling legend and now the owner of Team Bonitas said, “Both Fouche & van Heerden have really given us a wonderful Sunday morning. Fouche was exceptional on the last stretch and he held his nerves well and came up with a brilliant performance when it mattered the most.”
With six podium finishes in the last seven outings, pro Team Bonitas results show that the new team helmed by Hanco Kachelhoffer is riding hard for results and finishing strong.
In the ladies race, Anriëtte Schoeman (Team Mecer) won an incredible seventh Cycle Tour title in a last-gasp victory at the finish line. Schoeman said it was a wonderful day and a completely unexpected win. “My strategy was simply to stay upright; I stayed with the front group but never really thought I’d win it. It was only about 1.5km before the finish line that things tipped in my favour. Despite it being windy, the race organisers deserve a medal for a truly inspiring ride.”
Schoeman held off a strong challenge from Cherise Taylor (Team USN) and veteran rider Jennie Stenerhag (Team Focus), while last year’s winner Ashleigh Pasio (Team Momentum Toyota) claimed fifth, behind Briton Catherine Williamson (Team Bizhub-fcf).
This year’s race was remarkable for its return to Muizenberg Main Road after several years of the winding and twisting Boyes Drive, and the participation of Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson, who completed his first Cycle Tour as part of a group of riders from Virgin.
David Bellairs, director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, said that by 15h00, the medical teams, under the expert guidance of Mediclinic’s Dr Basil Bonner, had responded to approximately 509 incidents. “A total of 87 people have been referred to hospital, of which 52 remain in hospital as of 16:30 on Sunday. A cyclist suffered a heart attack, was treated on the route and airlifted to hospital. It is with great sadness that we advise of his passing.”
An estimated 34 500 cyclists lined up at the start on Hertzog Boulevard on Sunday morning to take part in the 36th iteration of the world’s largest timed bicycle race. “While riders experienced mild winds along some sections of the route, today offered near-perfect conditions for the race. We are extremely pleased with the great turnout for today’s event, and would like to thank each and every rider, volunteer and spectator for making this a memorable event. See you all next year!”
Elite Men 1st: Herman Fouche (Team Bonitas) (02:39:53)
Elite Men 2nd: Tyler Day (Team Westvaal-BMC) (02:39:53)
Elite Men 3rd: Christoff van Heerden (Team Bonitas) (02:39:53)
Elite Men 4th: Iljo Keisse (Team Omega Pharma Quick-Step) (02:39:53)
Elite Men 5th: Johann Rabie (Team Tasol GT) (02:39:53)
Elite Ladies 1st: Anriëtte Schoeman (Team Mecer) (02:52:51)
Elite Ladies 2nd: Cherise Stander (Team USN) (02:52:51)
Elite Ladies 3rd: Jennie Stenerhag (Team Focus) (02:52:51)
Elite Ladies 4th: Catherine Williamson (Team Bizhub-fcf) (02:52:51)
Elite Ladies 5th: Ashleigh Moolman (Team Momentum Toyota) (02:53:00)